Coach Coughlin: Good morning. Now we prepare for the New Orleans Saints, who lost their first three games this season and won three of their last four. Beat Dallas at home, lost to Philadelphia—they were sacked a number of times in that game. But of late, they beat Atlanta, a very good Atlanta team. They beat Indianapolis, they were plus-five in those two games, only having one turnover themselves, that being against Indianapolis. They're (even) for turnover ratio on the season. Their offense is ranked sixth overall in the National Football League—22 in yards rushing, although they rushed for 183 last week against Indianapolis. Third in passing, fourth in the NFL at 45.9 percent on third down. Drew Brees is completing passes at 67.6 percent. Mark Ingram had 143 yards rushing in Indianapolis. Brandin Cooks—35 receptions and six plays over 20 yards. Ben Watson, their outstanding tight end, with 29 receptions, 10 of them against Atlanta. And up front, Evans, Unger, and Armstead anchor an outstanding offensive line.Defensively, although overall 30th, they have eight takeaways in the last three games and they are on third down, allowing the opponent to progress at a percentage of 33.7, which is fourth in the NFL. They're led by Cameron Jordan, an outstanding defensive end. Young linebackers, first and second round picks. Delvin Breaux as a defensive corner is having an outstanding year. When they do match, they match him on the opponent's best. Kenny Vaccaro, the outstanding physical safety who plays down in the box, second leading tackler on their team. Special teams features Morstead, their outstanding punter. Forbath, their kicker. And punt/kick returner Marcus Murphy, who had a 74-yard punt return against Carolina. Fifty-six, linebacker Michael Mauti, had a blocked punt for a touchdown against Atlanta. So we prepare ourselves to go to New Orleans to play in the dome. We will utilize all of the facility that we can to prepare with the noise and all that business starting right today. I know you don't have any questions.
Q: They give up a lot of rushing yards. Do you challenge your guys this week to be more efficient in that area?
A: We challenge them in every way we possibly can. Give up a lot of rushing yards, I think a lot of their numbers, to be honest with you, come from earlier in the season. Whatever we think we can accomplish, we'll present as a challenge.
Q: Your thoughts on JPP coming back and do you have a general time frame of when he might be back?
A: No, I'm being brought along just like everybody else. He will start with the medical team. He can do all the jog-through's, he can be out there for whatever we're doing pre-practice, then he's going to slide off to the side with the medical people, be under their supervision. How long that lasts is really according to how well they feel he's able to proceed. He's told me that he's worked against bags, he's delivered blows on a board and done all of those things. When he came in, he looked good. I asked him what he weighed, he said 268, and he was right on the money. So he's worked, he's been working. We'll just see how fast this comes along.
Q: What was the mood of the team this morning when he was among them for the first time?
A: I think it was very good. They looked forward to seeing Jason. He's excited about being here and he's anxious to get started. I think that's a good thing and the rest of the guys picked up on that right away.
Q: Even though he can't help you on the field yet, because of his popularity in the room and him being back here after all this ordeal…Is there any element of him just kind of boosting these guys a little bit?
A: We're all rooting for him, to be honest with you. He had a very traumatic experience and he's done really what appears to be an outstanding job of preparing himself. He is mentally very upbeat, his attitude is outstanding. He's anxious to go and play right now, to be honest with you. But they're going to go relatively slow on that. Yeah, it will be a wonderful thing to have him come back, get ready to play, and play and contribute, which is his plan. I kidded him about that when he first came back the other night. We kind of laughed with one another and talked about, "Let's get started on that job."
Q: Based on what your medical people have told you, what kind of player can you expect him to be versus the player he used to be?
A: I'm hoping he's as good as. If you've studied him and you watched how he maneuvers when he does rush the passer, then he'll use that hand basically as he always has, not necessarily as a grabber, but as a club.
Q: What changed from Labor Day to Monday? On Labor Day you said he wasn't ready to play and then obviously now the team feels he can at least become ready to play.
A: What's changed?
Q: Yeah, what was the difference?
A: He's healed significantly, he passed his physical. The doctors feel that he can play and perform with his hand as it presently is. That's what's changed.
Q: 268, is that weight what you guys—
A: That's good, it's a good weight.
Q: You're good with him playing at that weight?
A: It's a good weight.
Q: How will he play? Have you guys worked out exactly how his hand is going—
A: We'll see how that goes. How will he play? Hopefully, very effectively, thank you very much.
Q: Not sure of the rules on this, but was he able at all to look at the defense during his time off?
A: I did not ask that question. I think he's watched a lot of football.
Q: How much does he have to catch up? Obviously learning the defense.
A: He's got quite a bit to catch up on. The terminology, sure. But he's already started on that.
Q: What was your conversation with him like? How did he seem? How did appear and seem to feel about being back?
A: Upbeat, very upbeat. Very excited, very glad to be here. Just as the first time he came until now, he's done everything he can to get back here. And he was in a good frame of mind the first time I saw him, as well. But this time, very good because he feels it. He senses that it's close and whatever we ask him to do, he can do it.
Q: Conceivably, how much can he help?
A: We'll see how many times he knocks the passer down.
Q: There was talk about a glove or is a club, a full club--. Do you have a plan on anything along those lines?
A: You'll have to wait and see on that one.
Q: Would you be inclined to have him travel to New Orleans?
A: I don't know. I thought about that when I talked with him last night. I'll think about that some more, depending on how this information goes in the next few days. Do I want him in an environment of competitiveness? Yes.
Q: But no playing on Sunday? Is it possible?
A: Tell me what shape he's in. No, no. There's no intention right now of him playing Sunday. He would like to play.
Q: As far as your pre-practice injury report, Beckham still on the same schedule?
A: No, he's going to practice.
Q: What about Beason, Schwartz?
A: Beason, no. Schwartz, tomorrow.
A: Owa, no.
Q: Is there anything new on Victor Cruz and his rehab progress yet?
A: Not that I can mention or make any difference with you. He's not going to practice.
Q: You wouldn't expect him to play this week?
A: No. No.
Q: Schwartz is the same ankle he had trouble with last year?
A: Yeah, but he's dealing with it a lot better.
Q: This team, even going back years, has not done well in New Orleans in that environment. Is there anything you can take away from previous games that might help in this one?
A: Well, the style in which they play and all that, we're familiar with all that stuff. We're going to preach forever on that. But they're a good offensive team, they're a good defensive team. They've improved quite a bit. Of course, they have an outstanding home situation and environment to play in.
Q: Your defense gave up at least a couple long throws to Matt Cassel. Does Drew Brees have the ability of really doing damage?
A: He has the potential, there's no doubt. He's an exceptional quarterback, has been for a long time. A master of that scheme, it's a very good scheme--mobile, personnel combinations, formations, splits, you name it. And they run the ball just as well.
Q: I guess I should have asked it this way…if Prince isn't back. Will Prince be back?
Q: So with the same personnel, I guess I should have asked it, how do you clean up that stuff?
A: They're going to make some plays, there's no doubt about that. They average 385 yards a game, and that's with a 3-4 record. So they're going to make some plays, it's just can you take some of those plays away. And can you find ways in which to have momentum changing plays for yourself. And can we offensively step up to the task? Because it's a big one.
Q: You'll have some more from Beatty this week?
A: Beatty is going to get a little bit more, little bit more, little bit more, scout team work.
Q: Is this week a possibility for him?
A: No, I wouldn't say that. He's got to start, he hasn't even had shoulder pads on yet.
Q: What about Unga and J.T. Thomas? Will they work today?
A: Unga will, J.T. will not.
Quarterback Eli Manning**
Q: Where else do you want to see improvements in the offense to continue what you guys did against the Cowboys last week?
A: Well, I thought we ran the ball well last week, so hopefully we continue to do that. We've got to do a little bit better job on third down. We had good third down opportunities, good down and distance, we've just got to convert a little bit more and do a little better job in the red zone getting touchdowns instead of field goals.
Q: Specifically against that New Orleans defense and Cameron Jordan, how do you keep that run game going?
A: We've got to stick with it. They've got a good defense, they're really good on third down. They've done a great job getting guys off the field, I think they're in the top-five in getting guys off the field on third down. We've got to get good down and distance, good first and second down production so we get manageable situations and be able to get the ball out without having to hold the ball too long back there with that pass rush.
Q: What's it like to have JPP back here in this locker room?
A: It's good to have him back. Hopefully he can get back into playing shape and football shape and get back on the field soon. Until that, we've just got to keep going about our business. I know it's good to have all your players, good to have him back in the locker room and hopefully he can help us out.
Q: Did you talk to him yet at all?
A: Yeah, talked to him this morning.
Q: How's he look and how does he feel?
A: He looks good. You'll have to ask him how he feels, but he looks good and I know he's ready to get back and back to playing football.
Q: To talk about this Saints defensive line for a second…Cameron Jordan for the last couple weeks has been a ferocious force. What do you see in him and what do you have to be concerned about?
A: You see him getting to the quarterback. He's a big guy, he's got some speed and some quickness. He's done a good job getting to the quarterback. So we've got to do a good job having our offensive line block him up and I've got to get the ball out quickly, move around the pocket and find some throwing lanes.
Q: How difficult is it playing in the Superdome?
A: The times we've played, it's been loud. So it's always going to be loud. Their offense has been scoring and we've gotten down, so they get pumped up. We've got to do a good job just trying to control the crowd, try to get some first downs and get into a little rhythm. It's going to get loud at times, but we can deal with that.
Q: You know what it's like to go home, what about Odell playing there for the first time as a pro?
A: I'm sure there will be lots of friends and family there. You've got to tune it all out and just worry about playing football. It's about just doing your job, knowing your assignment, and going out there and just playing the game.
Q: Dwayne Harris, we knew he was an explosive kickoff returner, but the Giants kept saying he's going to be a weapon on offense. What do you see from him in the offense so far? What do you think we can expect to see?
A: I think Dwayne has done well. I think he's gotten a lot better since the season started and playing in a more prominent role, played receiver. So I think he's done a good job just understanding the concepts, the timing of the routes, little nuances versus man or zone and how routes are run differently. I think he's really improved and making some plays for us.
Q: Obviously he has speed, is that the most important attribute he brings to the offense?
A: I think just run after catch ability. You see those kick return/punt return guys usually get the ball in their hands, let them break some tackles, make some big plays. So we've just got to keep getting him completions, hitting him in stride on some things. He can make some big plays for us.
Q: Since he was new to the offense, did it just take him awhile to get your trust, get the trust of the coaches before he could start being worked in a little bit more?
A: I think it's just getting that feel and just understanding the timing of the offense, all the little things that can dictate how the route is run based on coverage and leverage and those things. Just getting a good feel for him, getting some reps with him. But he's done a good job understanding things and playing fast.
Q: Is there a homecoming aspect to Sunday for you?
A: No, really not. Just going to play a game. I'm not seeing family before the game or doing anything. It's the next game, going to New Orleans and trying to get a win.
Q: For Odell, maybe it's slightly different because it's his first time back as a pro?
A: I'm sure, yeah, he's excited to go back to your home town. But you've got to just keep the focus on the game and on your assignments and on your play and don't get too excited or overworked or overexcited to go. And just play your game and don't try to do more than you have to.
Q: Was that difficult the first time you went?
A: I don't think so. I think you're just kind of focused. I think there's obviously some excitement. Just focus, and try to be focused on what your assignments are and what you have to do to play well.
Q: Having grown up in New Orleans and gone to a few of those games when you were a kid, what makes that environment so special, so difficult for the opponent?
A: The fans are good fans and they get loud and take great pride in being loud and trying to cause difficulty for the offense to communicate. I think it's our job to get into a rhythm, get first downs, move the ball and make some plays and try to see if we can keep them contained a little bit.
Q: It seemed in both of the last two games you played there that once things started to get out of control, it just snowballed. It almost looked like the team in general was rattled by that environment. Can that happen to a team down there?
A: I guess it can happen. But I think we'll be in good shape, we've just got to worry about doing our assignments, doing our job and we'll be fine.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.**
Q: How excited are you to go back to New Orleans?
A: It's definitely going to fun being able to go back home, a place that I always wanted to really play in back in high school, you want to get to the state championship, and had a chance to play in it one time but it didn't pan out the way we wanted it to. I'm definitely excited to go back.
Q: You obviously feel much better, I would assume, considering you were out there practicing.
Q: Anything still bothering you? Are you still doing the treatment or are you back to sort of your normal routine?
A: I think we're back to the normal routine. I don't really quite know yet, but I definitely do feel better.
Q: Offensively what…did you like in that game against the Cowboys and how do you keep it going against this New Orleans defense?
A: You keep winning. We won the game and we just have to do a better job of making sure that we have opportunities to be on the field. In the second half, I heard we had something like 19 plays or something like that, and that's just not enough as an offense. That makes it hard for your defense to go out there and do what they're supposed to do.
Q: What do you see in this defense that you're going to face? They shut down [Andrew] Luck, he didn't make a completion that whole first half almost.
A: They're a chaotic team. They play very much like their atmosphere and what a wonderful place it is to play. They do a great job at creating chaos and making you make mistakes.
Q: What do you know about [Delvin] Breaux?
A: I think he was at LSU for a little while and he had an injury to his neck, right? I don't know.
Q: He hurt it in high school and he didn't play in college.
A: Yeah, so I heard he didn't play in college, but he obviously has something to where he's the starting corner and he's following guys around. From watching his film, he looks very balanced, very agile, and able to move. It should be interesting.
Q: Would you expect that they would have him follow you around?
A: You would have to ask their defensive coordinator. I have no idea what they're going to do or their game plan. I just know what we're going to do.
Q: How did [Orleans] Darkwa breathe a little life into the run game and help you guys offensively overall?
A: It's a guy who, he wants to be out there, he wants to play, and he wants to make plays for this team and that's kind of exactly what he was doing. Anytime he gets on the field, whether it's special teams, offense or whatever the case may be, he's going to give it his all and he's going to put his best foot forward.
Q: To have JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] back, a) what does that mean for you guys, and b) What was your general message to him?
A: It was awesome to walk into the locker room, there's been so much that goes on and it just, there's so much about it, and for him to finally be back and just be able to see him here and he's got a smile on his face, it's great to have him back. We're definitely excited to have him back.
Q: Do you expect to draw a little inspiration just going back home, being able to play there?
A: I'm definitely excited about it. Just being able to go back home where you grew up, not far from the house, the stadium is only 15 minutes, so it definitely will be exciting.
DT Cullen Jenkins
Q: Did it ever get to a point where you thought JPP's return might not happen or were you always confident that you would see him?
A: I mean, there's always a possibility, even though I felt that most likely he's going to be back at some point because I know JPP and I know the type of person he is and I know he's going to fight. But there's always that chance, always that small percentage of the unknown. Just glad to see him back.
Q: Sometimes there are situations when a new guy comes in and team has already established the identity and the new guy might be a change that upsets the corps a little bit. Do you feel that at all or is this one of those open arms kind of things?
A: I feel like it should be an open arms thing. I know it is for me. We know what we are up front, we know what we've been, we know what our strengths and weaknesses have been and he can definitely come and help out and help us improve with some of our weaknesses as a D-line.
Q: How cool was it to see him back out there in uniform, even if it was just in early team drills?
A: It was great. We got a chance to—while we were doing our drill, you look down and you see him doing it and he moves well. He's still fast as ever, quick as ever. Excited to see him get back in action and go out.
Q: Was there a curiosity at all just because you hadn't seen him around? How he'd look?
A: Yeah, I think the whole world had some type of curiosity waiting for this. But he looked good. He looked really good out there.
Q: Tom said he's not planning on playing him this week. Can he still be a positive impact for you guys just having him back here? Having this shroud of mystery lifted and what not?
A: Yeah. Our D-line is more complete now. Instead of having to answer the questions of when he'll be back and if and all this stuff, he is back now, he's back with the group and now it's just a matter of waiting until he's game ready.
Q: Did you make him carry any helmets or anything like that?
A: (Laughs) No. No, we didn't. We're still trying to get him back, get him back to his old self in the room.
Q: How hard do you think it's going to be for him physically? After the damage that was done.
A: I'm not sure. That's something between him and whatever he's going through. Watching him in drills, I feel like if there are challenges, he's fighting through it pretty well. There's definitely going to be a little bit of a challenge for him but I think that he'll have no problem fighting through it.
Q: Is it exciting? I mean once he's ready to go, it's kind of rare for a team in a playoff race to add a guy like him midway through. Have you thought about what he could bring potentially?
A: Oh yeah, I thought about it the whole year. It's no secret that we haven't rushed the passer as well as we'd like to and I feel like that's something that he definitely brings to the table, will definitely instantly help us with.
Q: Prince was saying he seems like the same guy but more focused. Did you notice that?
A: Yeah. He's very serious, a lot more quiet, focused on what he has to do because he still has a journey ahead of him. Just because he's back here, his road getting back hasn't stopped. He's still focused on getting through that road.
Q: Did you get a good look at his hand and what was your reaction if you did? Was it better than or worse than you thought or about what you thought?
A: It's probably about what I thought.
Q: You said you guys have had some struggles rushing the passer, is it important that he doesn't think that he, for a lack of a better word, has to be a savior on the pass rush?
A: It's a possibility. Most important thing for him is getting back comfortable. Sometimes you can try too hard to do things. I think when he comes out there, he's a veteran, he's been out there for a while and I think he'll have no problem. It's probably going to be emotional for him at first, a lot of different feelings, emotions, adrenaline, all that.
Q: But you don't think he'll put too much pressure on himself?
A: I don't think so.
Q: Have you been in the meeting room with him today?
Q: What was the reaction?
A: I first saw him in the locker room here. So everybody just said hey, what's up and talked and caught up a little bit.
Q: Was it a full team meeting room or just defensive?
A: He was in the full team meeting room, too. Then the defensive meeting room and he's been in all the meetings with us.